Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Vanilla chai cupcakes

I've made these chai cupcakes a few times now and was met with nothing but praise, so making them for work was the next logical step. I started with Amy Sedaris' vanilla cupcake recipe and made my own little tweaks and additions...And the result proved to be pretty darn scrumptious if I do say so myself.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Well, it tastes pretty: Sour Cream Chocolate Cake With Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Some cakes just turn out looking a little tipsy. But you know what? Sometimes, after taking that first bite, you remember that it's what on the inside that counts. And, you know, what you choose to slather on top. So while the flavors of this cake rocked, it was a real pain in the you-know-what to assemble. I'll admit, though, that the error during the assembly process was all mine.
I was attempting to flip the second layer of the cake onto first layer by flipping the plate that the second layer was on upside down. Generally it's just common sense that when the cake is super moist, flipping of the cake should just not happen. Ever. But silly ol' me, I always assume that cake acrobatics are perfectly acceptable. Oh, when will I ever learn? What resulted was that the second layer fell off of the plate and landed on the first...And split into three pieces. I responded by flapping my arms in a vaguely chicken-like manner and squawking out a series of family gathering-appropriate swears ("Fudge, fudge, fudge!")
Never fear, though! There is (almost) nothing that frosting cannot fix-- bad hair days, bombed tests, cracked cakes...The possibilities are endless...Ish.

The verdict:
Taste-wise, the cake was a hit! Make it. Now. Seriously.
(Just don't go flipping any cakes now, ya hear?)

I obtained the recipe from "Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes."

Friday, February 19, 2010

Low-Fat Double Chocolate Cookies

I had a burnin' urge to bake this afternoon but didn't feeling like making anything too excessively fattening. My logical solution to this was to Google "low fat cookies" even though I was doubtful of their existence. But, lo and behold...
Some recipes included weird ingredients (low fat butter? Seriously?! I highly doubt it worthy of consumption), but I did manage to sort through more creepy-looking recipes and find one that looked promising. Even then, I was skeptical. Sixty-five calories per cookie, even when containing real honest-to-gosh butter? ...And then I noticed the portion sizes. One is expected to shape the dough into teaspoon-sized balls. Teaspoons, people! Shameful. There is no way I could limit myself to one cookie.

These turned out to be surprisingly awesome. Even my younger brother (and we all know siblings can be our harshest critics) had three or four before the second batch was out of the oven. He kept swearing that his current cookie would be the last-- only to show up a few minutes later to snatch another cookie and exclaim "Damn you, Katie! Why must your cookies be so GOOD?"

I acquired the recipe from

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ginger Chiffon Cake with Key Lime Curd and Lime Buttercream

For months, I was dying to get my greedy, frosting-seeking hands on Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes. When at last I did, I decided that the only proper way to celebrate was by making one of the kick-ass cakes featured in the book. (Sorry, Mom! I know you don't like it when I say "kick-ass" or "bad-ass.")

The ginger chiffon cake with key lime curd and lime buttercream looked perfectly drool-worthy and intriguing, so I dove right in. Admittedly I was a little self-conscious about the construction, seeing as how many other bloggers have already recreated this particular cake with such perfection. I ran into a few speed bumps during the way, which was not altogether encouraging-- but I made a few tweaks and it all came together.

The Cake
The ginger chiffon cake was both easy to throw together and darn tasty. If I were to make it again, the only thing I'd change is perhaps either adding some powdered ginger as well or just adding more of the grated ginger. The ginger flavor was light-- which some people might like, but it wasn't spicy enough for me!

The Key Lime Curd
Before this, I hadn't ever made or tasted curd. Maybe I made it wrong, but to me the curd just tasted like the egg yolks it contained (plus a little sourness from the key lime juice). I didn't find it to be appetizing at all! My dad tried it and thought it was quite tasty though, so I ended up whipping it together with some vanilla pudding to make it more bearable for those who couldn't stand it (aka me).

The Lime Buttercream
The buttercream recipe in the book was an Italian meringue buttercream. Having had attempted this particular kind of frosting before (and failed), I was feeling pretty wary about it-- but tried it anyway. And you know what happened? I failed again. The resulting "frosting" separated and just sat there, looking soupy and inedible. Curses! Egg whites are tricky buggers to work with, folks.

My solution was to just wing it and make up a traditional buttercream recipe using butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk, with the addition of lime juice and zest. Ironically enough, the frosting turned out to be my favorite part of the cake.
(I know, I know. Egotistical much?)

Overall, I'd make this cake again-- but with a few changes.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Ma's Birthday Tiramisu

It was my mom's 50th birthday yesterday, so I decided to whip out my very best imitation of butt-kicking baking skills and try my hand at tiramisu.
If you're wondering "What the heck is tiramisu?", it's definitely not a lady-wooing technique as Tom Hanks so wrongly assumes in "Sleepless In Seattle." Tiramisu is a popular Italian cake consisting of ladyfinger cookies (dipped in coffee or rum) and layered with a mascarpone cheese mixed with egg yolks and sugar. The name tiramisu literally means "pick me up" (hence the liberal amounts of coffee and sugar present).

I decided to make my own ladyfinger cookies, as store-bought ladyfingers just seem a little questionable to me. I used a recipe from, and it worked out pretty splendidly.

I used Giada De Laurentiis' recipe for the mascarpone cheese filling (with added cinnamon), dipped the ladyfingers in cinnamon coffee, and added a little bit of cinnamon on top along with cocoa power and chopped chocolate. Come on, people...How can that not sound good?

Giada de Laurentiis' mascarpone cheese filling recipe:

- 6 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pound mascarpone cheese

Whip egg yolks with sugar until the mixture is thick and pale. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until the mixture is smooth...That means no lumps of cheese, people! It will probably take about five minutes.